The secret behind clogged pores (and how to get rid of them)

Reading time: 5 min

Struggling with clogged pores? We hear you. If you’ve found yourself searching for a solution to banish clogged pores from your face, you have come to the right place. As we skincare groupies know, our skin is a complex ecosystem, and pores play a vital role in keeping it healthy. These tiny openings are often mistaken for blemishes and demonized in skincare routines, but they're essential for keeping our skin supple, cool, and functioning properly. However, clogged pores are a common skincare concern that can lead to several pesky concerns, from blackheads to acne breakouts, and figuring out how to handle them can be even more challenging.

So, to help clear some things up for both your skin and your brain, we’re sharing everything you should know about what causes clogged pores; from how to get rid of them, to some of the most effective ingredients you can use to help you minimize them, improve your skin texture, and achieve that healthy looking skin we all dream of. So, back away from the magnifying mirror, and read on!


So, what exactly are pores?


Pores are microscopic openings in the skin, most noticeable on the nose and cheeks, that connect to two important structures: hair follicles and glands. Contrary to popular belief, they're not like tiny doors that open and close. Instead, they're permanent openings that serve two important functions:


Oil Release: Pores are connected to sebaceous glands, which produce sebum, your skin's natural oil. Sebum helps keep your skin hydrated and protected, forming a protective barrier against environmental damage. Sebaceous pores are concentrated on the face, particularly the T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin), chest, and back.


Sweat Elimination: These pores connect to sweat glands, which are responsible for regulating your body temperature through sweat production. Sweat pores are found all over your body, with a higher concentration on areas like your palms, soles of your feet, and armpits.



Why do pores get clogged?


While pores are essential for healthy skin, when the collection of our oil is mixed with the wrong kind of stuff, it can make our normally tiny pores look bigger and make our skin appear congested. In the simplest of terms, clogged pores happen when your skin overproduces sebum or dead skin cells, and other debris like dirt, and even makeup, accumulate in your pores. Here are a few of the most common culprits:


  1. Makeup residue: Leaving makeup on overnight is a recipe for clogged pores. Those leftover pigments and residues can trap dirt and oil, leading to breakouts. To keep your pores happy, remove all makeup thoroughly every night.  Consider using a non-comedogenic primer before applying makeup – it creates a smooth canvas and won't clog your pores.


  1. Oil & Dirt:  This duo is a constant threat to clear skin.  Our sebaceous glands produce oil, while dirt and dead skin cells can accumulate on the surface. When these get trapped inside pores, trouble starts.  Be mindful of hidden dirt sources – your phone, pillowcase, and even your hands can transfer debris to your face. Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face throughout the day.


  1. Environmental Aggressors:  Beyond what we put on our skin, the environment plays a role too.  Air pollution, sweat, and even the oil from your hands (we know, it's hard to resist touching your face!) can all contribute to clogged pores.


This clogging can lead to several skin concerns, including:


  • Blackheads: When sebum mixes with dead skin cells and air near the surface, it oxidizes and turns black, creating a blackhead.


  • Whiteheads: If the sebum and dead skin cells stay trapped beneath the skin's surface, they form a whitehead.


  • Acne: Clogged pores can create a breeding ground for bacteria, leading to inflammation and pimples.



So… How do you unclog pores?


The truth is, you can’t totally get rid of your pores or prevent them from ever clogging again. The good news is that, while you can't shrink your pores permanently, you can minimize their appearance and prevent future clogs with ingredients specially thought to keep your pores clean and healthy:



Pore-Friendly Ingredients


  • Salicylic acid (BHAs): Salicylic acid, the most common BHA, is a gentle exfoliant known for its ability to penetrate the skin's pores and gently exfoliate dead cells from the surface. This helps clear clogged pores, prevent the formation of blackheads, and reduce the appearance of skin blemishes such as acne and whiteheads.


  • Alpha-Hydroxy Acids (AHAs): The AHA is a group of natural compounds that are found in fruits, dairy products, and even in our bodies. They are the ones that help us exfoliate the skin and eliminate the dead cells that accumulate. AHAs like glycolic acid and lactic acid work by loosening the bonds between dead skin cells on the surface, promoting smoother texture and minimizing clogged pores.


  • Clay Masks: Kaolin and bentonite clay are natural ingredients that absorb excess oil and impurities from the skin, helping to decongest pores and prevent future blockages. Use a clay mask once a week to help draw out impurities and tighten the appearance of pores.


  • Niacinamide: Niacinamide is a water-soluble B3 Vitamin, with tremendous antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, making it a trusty ally to have in your skincare routine. It improves texture and it can also help strengthen the protective barrier function of the skin by increasing the natural lipids found on the surface while reducing water loss.This multi-tasking ingredient helps regulate sebum production, minimizing pore size and preventing breakouts. 



Jess Beauty products with Niacinamide


Shine Bright Serum

The revolutionary Shine Bright Serum moisturizes your skin, restores its vitality, guards against discoloration and dark patches, and promotes a beautifully even skin tone. Combining niacinamide and tranexamic acid, it delivers powerful hydration. It acts as a moisture-restoring agent to prevent dryness and maintain natural pore size, and strengthen the skin's surface to prevent and address spots.


Post Workout Gel Mask
Meet the instant relief for your skin after sweating and intense heat. Providing extended moisture and nutrition to prevent skin dehydration, our Post-Workout Gel Mask will make your skin look firmer, shinier, and clearer than ever; becoming an essential ingredient of your post-workout routine.
  • Retinoids: Vitamin A derivatives like retinol and retinoid acid promote cell turnover, unclog pores, and minimize their appearance over time. It has anti-inflammatory properties and also helps regulate sebum production, which is beneficial for people with acne. 



Jess Beauty products with Retinol


Catering to individuals at different stages of their skincare journey, at Jess Beauty we've crafted two retinol products:


Age Rewind Retinol Serum
The Age Rewind Retinol Serum, an inclusive solution suitable for all skin types, that serves as the ideal starting point for those new to retinol, ensuring a gentle and gradual introduction to this powerhouse ingredient. 


Timeless Skin Retinol Cream

Jess Beauty’s advanced Timeless Skin Retinol Cream is packed with a potent retinol formula, including ingredients like panthenol and hyaluronic acid, designed to elevate your anti-aging game to new heights. It’s thoughtfully formulated for those with prior retinol experience, delivering a potent solution for those seeking advanced results.


Remember, pores are a normal part of your skin, and minimizing their appearance is more about keeping them clean and healthy. We are constantly bombarded with negative messages in the beauty industry surrounding our pores. But pores (and clogged pores) are just part of life and nothing to be ashamed of! 

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